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Address by Commander-In-Chief, President Cyril Ramaphosa on the occasion of Armed Forces Day, Polokwane, Limpopo

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula,
Premier of Limpopo Province, Mr Stanley Mathabatha,
Ministers of Defence from fraternal countries,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
MECs,
Mayor of Polokwane and Councillors,
Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube,
Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke,
Members of the Military Command Council, 
Generals, Admirals, Officers and Officials,
Non-Commissioned Officers,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Soldiers on Parade,
Military Veterans,
Distinguished Guests,

Fellow South Africans,

As the Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force, it is my privilege to be here today to honour our women and men in uniform.

Armed Forces Day is commemorated annually to pay tribute to the soldiers who perished in the English Channel in 1917 on board the SS Mendi during the First World War.

We honour the women and men who protect our borders, and those who have gone before who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our nation. 

We are proud of the progress we have made in ensuring that from the disparate apartheid-era armed forces a single, united, uniquely South African National Defence Force has emerged.

The SANDF is an enduring symbol of our rainbow nation, and includes in its ranks black and white, men and women.

Through loyalty and discipline, in defending our territorial integrity and sovereignty, though your involvement in conflict resolution and peacemaking efforts on the continent, and through your heroic roles during natural disasters both at home and in our neighboring countries, the SANDF indeed makes us proud to be South African.

Only ten days ago, we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the release of the SANDF’s first Commander-in-Chief, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. 

We should not forget that historic day, which dramatically changed our country’s political trajectory and led to the peaceful transition to democracy and which brought the SANDF into existence.

We mark Armed Forces Day this year at a time when South Africa has assumed the chairship of the African Union for 2020. 

This is a great responsibility to lead our continent towards the peace, unity and prosperity envisaged many years ago by our forebears like Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Thomas Sankara and Kenneth Kaunda.

In May this year, South Africa will host the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the AU on ‘Silencing the Guns’, one of the pillars of the AU’s Agenda 2063.

This Summit will provide an opportunity to assess the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap, and at the same time respond to emerging developments on the African peace and security landscape. 

As a continent, we have set milestones towards the attainment of a better and safer continent for all Africans, but our progress remains mixed.

Conflict continues in several African countries, undermining our collective efforts to achieve peace and security.

South Africa looks to the SANDF to assist us to meet our obligations with regards to supporting continental peace and security.

On this 2020 Armed Forces Day, we remember all the heroes and heroines in the SANDF who serve us without any expectation of reward, and who put their lives on the line to serve their country and their continent. 

In our quest to Silence the Guns, we acknowledge the enduring challenges of armed conflict in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, in North Africa, in the Sahel, in the Horn of Africa and in the Great Lakes region.

We count on the SANDF as an organ mandated by the AU and the UN respectively to discharge the important responsibility of promoting peace.

I commend our soldiers for staying true to this cause despite the many challenges they face. 

On this Armed Forces Day, we show appreciation for the service rendered by our soldiers, who despite limited numbers, ensure that the 4,800 kilometres of our vast border is patrolled. 

The companies deployed along the South Africa border with Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique continue to make great strides in curtailing illegal actions in their areas of responsibility. 

These men and women do remarkable work in safeguarding our borders and in assisting the South African Police Service with crime prevention. 

We commend them, knowing that the vast stretch of our border requires far more resources on the ground.

As a nation, we owe a great debt of appreciation to our National Defence Force for being not just a fighting force, but a developmental force.

Across our country, we have seen the SANDF render essential services through the deployment of health professionals at public health facilities that are in crisis.

We have seen our men and women in uniform repair sewage infrastructure along the Vaal River and in the North West.

Our forces have built bridges in rural areas to give isolated communities access to places and services they would not be able to reach otherwise.

And our forces are active in fire-fighting as well as mountain and maritime search-and-rescue operations.

In undertaking these diverse programmes, the South African National Defence Force draws on the talents and energy of young South Africans.

The Military Skills Development System is an important front in our nation’s battle against youth unemployment.

I am therefore pleased that the programme for the 2020 Armed Forces Day included a military careers showcase.

I hope that young people who wish to develop themselves and grow South Africa will embrace these opportunities through which they will make an important contribution to the security and sustainability of our nation.

We recognise that we have come a long way in the past 25 years. 

We have to continue growing our defence industry, especially as it makes a significant contribution in the country’s economy. 

To strengthen the relationship between the defence industry and the armed forces, we have launched the National Defence Industry Council. 

This development aims to support the defence industry with export opportunities while also meeting the SANDF’s material needs. 

We have also launched the Defence Industry Fund, with the objective of growing the local defence industry and servicing the SANDF and external clients. 

We are starting to see the fruits of this intervention in our military. 

Our Armaments Corporation, Armscor, is also integrally involved in these processes and continues to provide major acquisition and project management capabilities. 

South Africans should be proud that their military is providing opportunities to small businesses and contributing to the stimulation of local economies where bases are situated. 

This we have done through Project Koba-Tlala. 

To this effect, the SANDF has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Small Business Development to raise the department’s spend on small and medium enterprises from 30% to 50%, and create a lifeline for start-ups and budding entrepreneurs. 

I challenge you to ensure that women-owned businesses access a significant chunk of this procurement in line with the call by the AU for the allocation of at least 25% of public procurement to women-owned businesses, instead of the current 1%. 

Compatriots,

I want to commend Minister Mapisa-Nqakula for establishing the Ministerial Task Team against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the military. 

The Task Team is currently hard at work to rid our military of incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse, which go against the grain of our military ethos and character, and which violate the very principles on which our democracy is founded. 

These are steps in the right direction to address the disgraceful behaviour of a few men and which will give weight to our efforts to end violence against women on our continent.

During our tenure as African Union chair, we will make the adoption of the AU Convention on Violence Against Women a priority, and urge member states to ratify international protocols that outlaw gender discrimination. 

The global climate crisis threatens our continent more than most, contributing to resource scarcity and instability.

It has the potential to aggravate security issues. 

As Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, I will ensure that South Africa prioritises mitigation, adaptation and support. 

As Commander-in-Chief, I will keenly follow the initiative that the Defence Minister took with the campaign to ‘Plant Trees Not Bombs’ in Durban in November 2019. 

The UN Under-Secretary-General, Fabrizio Drummond, was also part of this initiative and urged UN members to plant 75 million trees as part of mitigating climate change, also in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN. 

I urge the SANDF to expand this initiative in partnership with other government entities.

As I conclude, I wish to pay tribute to one of our own, the late Chief of the South African Army, Lt-Gen Thabiso Mokhosi, who we laid to rest in December 2019. 

He would have been with us today. 

In his memory, let us continue serving this country loyally, and redouble our efforts to ensure that South Africans feel safe and remain safe.

I thank you.

Armed Forces Day 2020 Capability Demonstration |Night Shoot- Roodewal Bombing Range

The most anticipated event of the Armed Forces Week taking place in Polokwane had to be the capability demonstration at the Roodewal Bombing Range a few kilometres outside the Limpopo capital Polokwane.

Guests were flown up to Polokwane by a charted aircraft,where they were then bused to the bombing range,to witness some of the different assets the South African National Defence Forces Firepower!

The display of arms started with various vehicles showing their fire power, that being the Ratel 90,Olifant MK2 battle tanks are just to name a few.Pathfinders were then dropped into the battle zone as that was the beginning of the mechanised attack from different mechanised armored vehicles, air assets and other ground forces.

Ratel 90
Olifant mk2

The South African Airforce are big favourites at Roodewal as this is the home to 2 Squadron and 85 Combat Flying School as their weapons training grounds. An Oryx Helicopter simulated a fire fighting task, with a Bambi bucket equipped underneath the helicopter.

Oryx Helicopter

The fighters assets provided a recce run, with a single gripen and hawk. A 2v1 combat routine was then shown by two friendly JAS39C Gripens and a enemy Hawk Mk120.

Hawk & Gripen Formation
2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

Trooping was tasked to a pair of Oryx helicopters with fast ropping, followed by two Agusta A109 helicopters providing a mock hoisting operation from a downed pilot scenario.

Agusta A109LUH

From the transport line including 44 Squadron with a single Casa 212 simulated a tactical cargo supply drop. A 41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravan was the eye in the sky providing top cover footage to both the spectators and playing a vital role during the entire period of the demonstration with aerial visuals to the coordinators of the simulated battle zone.

44 Squadron Casa 212
41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravan

The invited guests were treated to see 2 different 16 Squadron Rooivalks in camo and in white, the proudly south African made helicopter provided both cannon and rocket fire gun runs during the demo.

16 Squadron Rooivalk rocket strike!
16 Squadron Rooivalk

Bombing runs were then up next ,with Hawks and Gripens and then followed by a 30mm Aden cannon strike from four Hawks on Charlie Coke known to the pilots as the famous weapons strike zone!

Hawk Bomb Run
The Aftermath
Hawk 30mm Cannon

The night shoot was made up of all arms of ground forces fire power at Roodewal,as well as a cannon and rocket strike from a Rooivalk Helicopter. A single gripen flew directly over the crowd with full afterburner as it reached for the Limpopo night skies filled with dropping flares,a oryx helicopter following next with a flare drop to close off this years Armed Forces Day Capability demonstration.

Oryx Helicopter Flares

A very big well done to all members of the South African National Defence Force that made the event possible and abling the media to attend these exciting demo’s!

2 Squadron Gripens to open SONA 2020

The sharp end of the South African Airforce 2 Squadron flying the SAAB JAS39 C and D variants of the Gripen will be opening the State of the Nation Address by the commanding chief South African president Cyril Ramaposa.

Proceedings are set to take place at 19H00 on the evening of 13 February at Palamentary House in Cape Town this coming Thursday.

The Parliament of South Africa is South Africa’s legislature; under the present Constitution of South Africa, the bicameral Parliament comprises a National Assembly and a National Council of Provinces. The current twenty-seventh Parliament was first convened on 22 May 2019

2 Squadron is based at Airforce Base Makhado in the Northern Limpopo Province and led by Officer Commanding of 2 Squadron Lieutenant Colonel Josias “Boerboel” Mashaba.

In previous SONAs the SAAF have played a mighty role in top cover close air support, air policing and flypasts by both Gripen and the Silver Falcons.

Prestige Day Parade Address By Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang

Gracious AIR FORCE 2020 Greetings to you Fellow South Africans and our international guests.
 
About 59 years ago, an infant was wrapped in documents and blankets as the Apartheid security forces stormed his mother’s home looking for sensitive information on the African National Congress.

They were unable to find the well-hidden documents and the baby was spared being orphaned. The infant and family were smuggled out of the country to follow his exiled father. He grew up dislocated from his homeland, growing up thinking that his country was a myth that only existed in the lived experiences of his elders. The boy was schooled in foreign countries with their welcoming arms, and different languages. Fast forward…….

The boy grew into a young man who was trained with many other young men and women in the fight for an equal democratic society, grounded in revolutionary love for their people. The man would eventually return to his home land with the ghosts of many comrades sown into his skin.  He had to put aside past differences in the new nation and work towards a common future goal as enshrined in the newly birthed Constitution whose Preamble states:

“We, the people of South Africa,
Recognise the injustices of our past;
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country;
and
Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, UNITED in our diversity.”

Today, at the tail end of the 25 year celebrations of our Young Democracy and also the 25 year Celebration of the formation of the new South African National Defence Force and its various Arms of Services, that young man, now bald and before you, has the honour of addressing all those who could attend. But I would be remiss if I didn’t first pay tribute to all our brave women and men in uniform who are in other lands and on the home front, serving our People and safeguarding our national interests.

And taking a moment of silence for those fallen heroes of democracy who no longer stand with us – we remember you. 

We are the writers of our future, shaped by our consciousness, our history and our experiences as individuals and as part of various communities.  As we today grapple with our complex PRESENT which is informed by our difficult and painful PAST, we are duty bound to create conditions to build a strong foundation for a better and promising FUTURE we the people of South Africa all yearn for.

I stand here before you as the 21st Air Chief in the pre and post 1994 history of the South Air African Force; and the 5th Air Chief of the South African Air Force in the new dispensation – this is your Air Force, the Peoples Air Force.

It is therefore my singular honour and privilege today to welcome you all to this year’s celebration of the South African Prestige Parade under the theme “Embracing Our Collective Heritage” celebrate nation-building, social cohesion, freedom, peace and unity with you.  

My prayer today is, as we acknowledge the history of our Air Force and as we celebrate 25 years of a democratic SAAF, may we rise to the occasion to help the nation dissolve the barriers of race, religion and political divide. May we embrace our differences with understanding and compassion. Our museums on all the bases have captured the time line of the history of the SAAF to date, with a deep sense of neutrality and in totality, indeed there is always room for improvement.  

In the spirit of collective heritage and social cohesion, I invite you all to participate in the country’s nation-building efforts where we observe days of honor and remembrance with appropriate ceremonies and in context.  As we make the history of the SAAF pre 1994, we must be mindful of the glaring human rights violations that occurred.

Formation of the Union of South Africa’s Air Force
In 1917 sent by Prime Minister General Louis Botha to London to attend the Imperial Conference, General Jan Smuts presented a report to the British Parliament which became known as the “Smuts Report” stated, inter alia;
“Air Service on the contrary, can be used as an independent means of war operations far from and independently of, both Army and Navy.”
General Jan Smuts soon summoned Sir Pierre van Ryneveld to London and was told:

“I want you to go back out to South Africa and start an air force”. 
Subsequently, South Africa received an Imperial Gift that comprised of 113 aircraft and included steel frames for 20 hangars and everything else required to start and operate an air force. The consignment was sent here to where we currently stand, an airfield that was named Swartkop, the oldest active military airfield in the world today.  Some of the Imperial Gift Hangars are still in daily use as you can see.

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA 1994 TO 2020 AND INTO THE FUTURE
A CORE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STATE


Is to both secure the State and to protect its citizens. We thus accord the Armed Forces, the Intelligence Services and other Security Services the duty to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State and to ensure that the Authority of the State is duly maintained and exercised.
Section 227(1)(a) of the Interim Constitution (1993) thus pronounces that one of the functions of the Defence Force is:

“For service in the defence of the Republic, for the protection of its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
However, as we enter the epoch of the 3rd and 4th Industrial Revolutions, we begin to sense that such developments, and the changing nature of the world affairs, will pose immense challenges for the State and its citizenry.

It is my view that our traditional view of sovereignty and security is challenged due to the digital explosion of the 3rd and 4th Industrial Revolutions; this through increasing globalisation, integrated and inter-reliant economies and our inter-dependence on each other within the global world.

Globally, most Air Forces have always been at the cusp of technological development, and the 4th Industrial Revolution will place even more prominence on the role that our Air Force must play in the development and maintenance of South Africa’s industrial and technology base as well as the inter-connectedness of systems.

The evolving role of the Armed Forces must be informed by our understanding of sovereignty, the value-exchange between the State and the citizenry and the changing nature of conflict.

CONSIDERING THE FUTURE

With the birthing of democracy, the South African Air Force began a new era in 1994. Transformation over the past two and a half decades has brought about a change in composition, structure, and hardware with a new vision since 2013 of “An Air Force that Inspires Confidence”.
The security landscape within which we find ourselves since the new dispensation, is rapidly developing in a manner challenging to our traditional views of sovereignty and security.

The legacy capabilities, platforms, doctrine and tactics of the Defence Force which we inherited in 1994, was a Defence Force fundamentally and rigidly orientated towards and postured on conventional warfare, with frameworks rooted in Cold War thinking and the legacy thinking of the Second World War.

We must now ask ourselves if these remain appropriate for the conflicts that we may face in the future, bearing in mind that the emerging security dimensions will continue to challenge the readiness and preparedness of our security structures?
We must increasingly focus our energies on the future trajectory and nature of such conflict, including both the means and methods of both the “old” and “new” wars.

We are thus forced to question if our dogged obsession and unwavering focus on conventional military capabilities, platforms, doctrine and tactics indeed have future relevance?

A BALANCE OF HARD & SOFT POWER

National Security must have at its crux the traditional responsibility for the protection and continuance of the sovereignty of the State, its political and economic independence and the protection of its institutions, values and freedoms.

However, the architecture on which any future National Security Policy is built must be broad enough to encompass the consolidation of democratic liberalism; the pursuit of political and social justice; economic development; environmental sustainability; and the combatting of crime, violence and instability.

We must therefore examine carefully the Mandate of the Armed Forces to ensure that the Armed Forces are, and remain, pertinent and relevant to all these dimensions.

DELIVERING HUMAN SECURITY TO A DEVELOPMENTAL STATE

We must reflect on the fundamental contribution that Defence makes to the Sovereignty of the Republic of South Africa and the maintenance of the Authority of the State.

As elucidated in the South African Defence Review 2015, we find ourselves within a broadened and expanded security paradigm which has a particular emphasis on the well-being of the citizenry.
The legitimacy of the State in the eyes of the citizenry will thus be the sustaining factor that ensures the survival and continuance of the State.
The State will furthermore have the obligation to facilitate, if not create, the environment and the necessary conditions for the fulfilment of human security and economic prosperity.

Policy should express both how the execution of mandated defence functions and other specific initiatives can, in certain circumstances, contribute to the perceived legitimacy of the State and the human development and security of the citizenry.
Given the above deliberations, I posit that paramount to the relevance and readiness of the military to contribute to both the Defence of the State and the Protection of its People must be at the forefront of future military planning.

THE FUTURE THAT OUR YOUTH DESIRES

This younger generation indeed ascribe legitimacy to the State based on its ability to deliver Human Security to its citizens. This human security paradigm, whilst not discounting our traditional views on sovereignty, is driven by the perceived value that the State delivers to its citizens through a broad Social Compact with them. Some of the dimensions of this social compact and the desires of the youth include:
•  ​Political and legal legitimacy.
•  ​Basic and inalienable rights and freedoms.
•  ​Food and water security.
•  ​Relevant & accessible education systems.
•  ​Modern & Accessible health systems.
•  ​Appropriate basic services.
•  ​Environmental stability.
•  ​Infrastructure and economic development.
•  ​Social cohesion, amongst many others.
·   ​inalienable cultural rights.
·   ​Freedom from gender-based violations

DECLINING PEER-ON-PEER CONFLICT

The three decades since the demise of the Cold War has seen a military focus on operations of a much broader nature.
Internationally we have become preoccupied with counter-terror operations, counter-insurgency operations and stabilisation operations.
Domestically, this has led to evolving capabilities focused on Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW).

We are therefore compelled to first ask ourselves the same question: Has our recent military operational commitments detracted from our core military functions, and if so, what are the consequences thereof for the future of the South African Air Force?

This also begs a second question, namely: What is the probability and possibility of Peer-on-Peer Conflict for the South African Air Force. If so, what integrated capabilities do we require? If not, where should our primary focus lie?

We consequently have to enhance our understanding of the evolving nature of conflict on the African Continent.
Currently, we observe an almost complete lack of State-on-State Conflict on the African continent, with little or no linear State-on-State contestation.

Conversely, we observe growing Intra-State Conflict, often without the presence of a State-Actor (Statutory Force). More often than not we observe the involvement of both irregular and proxy forces as parties to the conflict.

African conflicts of the future are therefore increasingly less likely to involve Peer-on-Peer conventional military conflict. This will in all likelihood be overtaken by an increased focus on both irregular warfare and hybrid warfare, as was recently observed in Libya.
Future conflicts will be trans-national in nature, often involving the use of proxy forces, frequently involving the use of IED’s and often leading to a significant loss of innocent civilian life.

FUNDAMENTALISM AND TERROR

The threat of terrorism, ethnic nationalism and fundamentalism (TENF)  is increasing exponentially.
In many instances, TENF and state-backed jingoism appear to be a push-back against the realities of a globalised world and its impacts on both people and societies, and often with both international and domestic nationalist manifestations.

The threat of terrorism is often troublesome to measure and define; it is consequently difficult to assess the security implications thereof. Notwithstanding that defining terrorism is very problematic, largely due to the distinct ideological bases thereof, the one seminal characteristic is the formidable and gruesome nature of their tactics.

As our Armed Forces modernise and become more technologically advanced, careful attention must be given to having a balanced and broad enough suite of capabilities that can address the challenge of TENF.

Developing a common understanding of the extent of the threat is the first step in coordinating a national and integrated regional counter-terrorism response.

DIGITAL AND CYBERSECURITY

Our daily interface with the “borderless” digital world gives rise to a range of threats and concerns which were not previously part of our security paradigm.

Persistent digital security and cyber threats now continue to dominate the international security agenda, as they increasingly more sophisticated and intrusive.

Such rapidly evolving assaults in the digital domain threaten the very sovereignty of the State and seek to manipulate and destabilise critical information infrastructure, social and mainstream media and the economic and financial machinery that underpin the State.
We are all acutely aware of the significant amounts of personal information freely available on social networking sites.
Defence is not immune thereto.

We are all extremely concerned about the vulnerability of military command and control infrastructure to cyber-attacks and the risk of electro-magnetic disruption to other ancillary military systems. The threats in this environment are rapidly evolving and changing, posing significant challenges for both the cyber-defence and cyber-offence capabilities of the Armed Forces.

In as much as the requisite hardware and software required for these tasks is important, the most important, and often the least resourced is the human dimension thereto.

MIGRATION, NATIONAL BORDERS AND THE MARITIME SPACE

Our borders are the physical manifestation of our national sovereignty. Yet we experience unprecedented illegal cross-border migration, human trafficking, the smuggling of small arms and light weapons, trafficking in stolen goods and property and the illegal harvesting and transfer of natural resources.

Similarly, we are also challenged by maritime crime in our Exclusive Economic Zones, piracy on the High-Seas, the illegal exploitation of maritime resources and the uncontrolled movement of people and goods at sea. The international response thereto has seen Multi-National Joint Task Forces being formed and deployed to high-risk areas. One of the difficulties such task forces face is reliable shared-maritime domain awareness.

ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY

We actively need to address the effects of climate change and increase the sustainability of our environment. Some of the challenges facing developing countries include:

•  ​Regional Famine, as is now predicted by the UN World Food Programme in Southern Africa during 2020.
•  ​Increased access to safe and affordable drinking water.
•  ​Increased access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene.
•  ​Increased access to affordable, reliable, modern and sustainable energy services.
•  ​Transforming high carbon-emitting sectors towards a low carbon economy, especially energy, transport, agriculture and waste management.
•  ​Implementing waste management programmes that increase waste recycling and decrease the incidents of landfill.
•  ​The intensive rehabilitation and restoration of ecological infrastructure across all dimensions (water, soil, air and biodiversity).
•  ​Developing strategic pathways for integrated spatial development and human settlements.

The above challenges are as relevant to the Armed Forces as they are to the rest of society.  We are proud of our members that we provided a critical role in the flooding disaster relief  in Mozambique, KZN, Mamelodi and many other places.
  
However, the burden on the Armed Forces stretches even further, as we know that our soldiers will increasingly be called upon to conduct search and rescue, disaster relief and humanitarian operations both domestically and in neighbouring countries in response to climate change and the attendant risks to environmental sustainability. This places more pressure on the SAAF requiring an increase in personnel and funding, to ensure we are ready to Inspire Confidence and fly to action where and when required.

However, we cannot give proper consideration to the challenges facing us in the future, without making an assessment of the Means at our disposal to position ourselves for the future. Defence can only perform to the extent that it is resourced and funded.

The Department of Defence has been forced to continuously adjust its plans downwards.  This is myopic and short term thinking.  This is dangerous.  The Defence force is the Nations’ Insurance Policy. 
 
CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE FUTURE CONFLICTS:

Perhaps it is now appropriate to commence with a robust discussion on what capabilities, platforms, doctrine and tactics would be most appropriate for future conflicts?

It is crucial that South Africa develops a fit for purpose Defence Force that is agile enough to both physically and intellectually move seamlessly between its traditional mandated tasks and functions (however rare or occasional the requirement) and the demanding new environments of cybersecurity and cyber-resilience, proxy forces, hybrid warfare, transnational crime, climate change, as well as peace support operations to mention but a few.

Crucial to the success of the Defence Force in these complex arenas will be the quality, education and professionalism of its human capital. Fundamental to achieving these goals and objectives will be the full employability of the force, its flexibility in terms of structure and equipment as well as its ability to function effectively within the demands of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the complexity of future conflict.

Key to unlocking the above will be leadership at all levels, from the tactical to the strategic within the Defence Force to the policy decisions which will be vital to and ultimately shape the space for the above to occur.


Professional Military Education and Leadership

The professionalism of the Armed Forces, and specifically at the level of the individual soldier, is absolutely an essential ingredient in the relationship between the State and its citizenry.
One cannot begin to emphasise how important education, training and development will be to the successful and sustained continuance of the Armed Forces of the future. Investment in the best, most appropriate, skilled and professional soldiers, is the most strategic endeavor that the Armed Forces can embark upon.

The continued operation and future sustainability of the hardest working air assets of the SAAF being the Oryx, Rooivalk and C130, rely on an efficient and effective Original Equipment Manufacturer and Technical Design Authority of the Rotary Wing assets. The challenges faced by our local industry, has posed a threat to the sustainability of these assets, thus we call for alignment and cooperation amongst key stakeholders.

To, the planning team for this year’s occasion led by Brigadier Gen Crouse and supported by Brig Gen
Khoase and the Base OC Col Trish Schoeman, thank you very much for your excellent support. I thank all those members who worked tirelessly behind the scene to make this a splendid and enjoyable day – true to Air Force Standards of excellence. 

Credit goes to the Prestige Awards function, we celebrated excellence. The prestige awards recognise exceptional performance among the Units, Bases and Directorates in the South African Air Force.  And the Prestige Unit 2019 cycle AFB ……………., congratulations and well done!  Keep up the outstanding performances.

 A special thank you to the members of the media present here today. We need your support in informing South Africans about the role of the military. Compatriots, the SAAF will always be at your service!  This is your Air Force and we re-dedicate ourselves to serve the Nation and renew our pledge to do our sovereign duty. I thank all the members on parade led by the Parade Commander Lt Col Matthye.  I also thank the South African Air Force Band led by Lt Col Pinnar for adding a touch of elegance and sparkle to this auspicious occasion. To the members on parade, I as a proud and patriotic South African soldier, wish to conclude with a quotation from Tata Mandela of the 20th of april 1964 ….

Long before he became our first Commander in Chief of our democratic South Africa – lest we forget; ”during my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve.

But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”A baby, wrapped up in documents and blankets, whose parents and forbearers could only dream about what equality looked like, a boy who could only dream about what home smelled like, who can now dream 100 years to the future.

I have a dream of an air force that is configured and resourced to push the envelope to “space” operations.
I have a dream of an air force that continues to adhere to its key principles of speed, agility and precision with high tech beyond nanotechnology of today

I have a dream of an air force that will be one that is able to have a multi domain command and control capability that not only operates in the current domains of outer space and cyberspace, but one that will be agile enough to adapt and change as technology develops.

I have a dream of an air force that will employ more remote controlled platforms and autonomous platforms

Fellow South Africans, fellow SAAF members – in uniform and retired.  Let us take hands and together seek the lessons that inevitably lie in such situations.  Collectively as patriotic South Africans, let us turn our country that is so full of potential, into a dream country that is respected and cherished by all those who live in it. We are all responsible for the good, the bad and the ugly. Protect this country like you protect your homes, nurture it and appreciate it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Your Air Force – The Peoples Air Force which is here to serve and defend you unconditionally. Nurture it and keep it relevant
Let us Love, Respect and Protect our beloved country.

South African Airforce Prestige Day 2020

The South African Airforce Prestige Day was held at Airforce Base Swartkop, the second oldest operational Airforce Base in the world to date, in Pretoria on Friday 31 January 2020.

AFB Swartkop

The South African Air Force was established on 1 February 1920. The Air Force has seen service in World War II and the Korean War. This years theme of celebrating the South African Airforce, is “embracing our collective heritage”.

The parade was opened by a paradrop from two 44 Squadron Casa 212s with a number of skydivers from the Golden Eagles Parachute display team and the Pretoria Military Skydiving Members, including the big South African flag.

22 Squadron Lynx Helicopter

Part of General Fabian Msimang’s speech he mentioned:

“Formation of the Union of South Africa’s Air Force
In 1917 sent by Prime Minister General Louis Botha to London to attend the Imperial Conference, General Jan Smuts presented a report to the British Parliament which became known as the ‘Smuts Report’ stated, inter alia;”


“Air Service on the contrary, can be used as an independent means of war operations far from and independently of, both Army and Navy.”
General Jan Smuts soon summoned Sir Pierre van Ryneveld to London and was told:

Chief of the South African Airforce General Fabian Msimang
Chaplin Smit reads a beautful testimony


“I want you to go back out to South Africa and start an air force”. 
Subsequently, South Africa received an Imperial Gift that comprised of 113 aircraft and included steel frames for 20 hangars and everything else required to start and operate an air force. The consignment was sent here to where we currently stand, an airfield that was named Swartkop, the oldest active military airfield in the world today.  Some of the Imperial Gift Hangars are still in daily use as you can see.

Prestige Day 2020 Mass Flypasts

During the parade we got to wintness some spectacular flypasts from both ex and current South African Airforce aircraft, a mass helicopter formation led by a 16 squadron Rooivalk attack helicopter. Other types of helicopters included Oryx, Lynx, Agusta A109s from various chopper squadron across South Africa. The SAAF Museum also were a part of the formation with a Puma, two Alouette IIs and Alouette IIIs.

SAAF Helicopter Formation
A pair of 16 Squadron Rooivalk, Museum Puma, Agusta A109LUH & Oryx Helicopter
Agusta A109LUH
Oryx Helicopter
16 Squadron Rooivalk & Museum Alouette II

The next formation included two museum aircraft assests, a Kudu and Cessna C185, followed by a formation of Harvards.The Transport formation was up next led by a 35 Squadron C47TP Dakota, with three 41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravans and two 44 Squadron Casa 212s making up the formation.

Museum C4.M Kudu & Cessna C185
Museum Harvard’s
35 Squadron C47TP Dakota, Leads a trio of 41 Squadron Cessna C208A Caravans & 44 Squadron Casa 212s
35 Squadron C47TP Dakota

The sound of freedom was then up next with the roar of the Hawk and Gripen formation as they buzzed overhead the parade made up of 85 Combat School and 2 Squadron assets. The Final flypast was led by a 21 Squadron Boeing 737BBJ, A Dassault Falcon 50 and the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team.

Fighter Formation 2 Squadron Gripens & 85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120s
Fighter Formation 2 Squadron Gripens & 85 Combat Flying School Hawk Mk120s
21 Squadron Boeing 737BBJ,A Dassault Falcon 50 and the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team.

The prestige unit of the year for the South African Airforce from 2019 was presented to AFB Ysterplaat as part of the Prestige Unit award.

AFB Ysterplaat awarded the Prestige unit trophy.

The parade concluded with Fledglings releasing doves and balloons while the SAAF announcer read out, “We will keep whirling and twirling from the sky. White doves fly into our hearts, embracing our Air Force heritage. Carrying messages of goodwill. We will sing forever young and free. We will be an Air Force that inspires confidence.”

Releasing doves and balloons with future Airforce Members

SAAF Museum Flying Day 1 February 2020

The First flight training day for the year 2020 at Airforce Base Swartkop was different this year, it was the South African Airforce’s birthday, which was founded on the 1 February 1920.

Museum Alouette III

With the Prestige Day parade held the day before at Airforce Base Swartkop, many of the aircraft that took part in the mass flypast were present and gave the visiting public a glance at both static and departing aircraft returing to their home bases across South Africa.

22 Squadron Super Lynx

The Usual museum aircraft such as the many Museum Harvards, Patchen Explorer, Cessna C185, Kudu and Alouette II, III as well as the Puma continued with currency flights in between display slots.

SAAF Museum Harvard’s
SAAF Museum Cessna C185

Friends of the SAAF Museum sold Boere Wors Rolls, Refreshments and held guided tours of the airforce heritage displays located on the base premises.The windsock Café was also open for cool and hot refrements throughout the day.

The days proceedings started with a short display by a 35 Squadron C47TP Martime Dakota from AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town. Major Paul “Raccoon” Kempthorn flew one of the best Rooivalk displays that we have witnessed in a long time.

35 Squadron C47TP
16 Squadron Rooivalk
16 Squadron Rooivalk

The Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team 84 led by new team lead Major Sivu Tangana showed off the tight formation aerobatics of four Pilatus PC7MKIIs.

Silver Falcons
Pilatus PC7MKII

Two Cessna C208A Caravans from 41 Squadron, who operates out of neighbouring Airforce Base Waterkloof, gave a short formation display. Major Rehan “Kaine” Venter flew his second airshow display as he is now the new Hawk display pilot for 85 Combat Flying School.

41 Squadron Cessna C208A Caravans
85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120
85 Combat Flying School Hawk MK120
2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper flew a great display in the JAS39C Gripen before heading back to Airforce Base Makhado in the Limpopo Province.

2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

The Museum Helicopter assets including the Alouettes II and IIIs closed the flying day with their helicopter display, with a big chance of seeing them do it again on 9th May 2020 at The SAAF Museum Airshow.

SAAF Museum Puma & Alouette III
SAAF Museum Alouette III

Well done to the Museum staff and AFB Swartkop on providing a different flying day as a gift to the public on the South African Airforce Birthday!

Please Browse through our Gallery Below!

Public Welcome at Prestige Day 2020

Breaking News-Public welcome at Prestige Day Parade 31 January 2020

Some exciting news for the public of South Africa to join at this year’s Prestige Day Airforce Day at AFB Swartkop in Pretoria on 31 January 2020.This special occasion will be celebrating 100 years of South African Airforce Airpower through 25 years of Democracy!

A wide variety of current and ex South African Airforce aircraft will be flying during the day. Please take note this is not an Airshow and their will not be any vendors available also during the course of the day. Members of the public are welcome to bring their own food but no alcohol will be allowed on the base.

Gates open at 7H45am and Close at 9H30am for the duration of the prestige day proceedings. The public will need to enter from the northern gate at Airforce Base Swartkop and parking will be available at the northern gate until such time parking gets full, the puplic will have to park outside the base.Also take note Bays Hill will be closed on the day.There will be no movement during the parade!

We look forward to this event. More information will follow days leading to Prestige day!

Note not an Airshow, but flypasts!

SAAF Museum Airshow Date set for 9th May 2020

Swartkop Airshow 2020
SAAF Museum Airshow Date set for 9th May 2020

Note, This is not the official poster for the 2020 SAAF museum Airshow

Join the Facebook event page for the SAAF Museum Airshow 2020

And so a century is made with the South African Airforce (SAAF) turning 100 years old. “Through hardships to the stars” of gracing the skies over South Africa, the latin motto explains the Per Aspera Ad Astra phrase.

The South African Air Force was established on 1 February 1920. The Air Force has seen service in World War II and the Korean War as well as the Bush War.

The date is set for the annual SAAF Museum Airshow with a Theme not 100% confirmed yet, but sources has it as “Embracing our Collective Heritage” and “100 years of Air Power, through 25 years of Democracy” on the 9th May 2020 at Airforce Base Swartkop in the City of Tshwane.

The Centenary of this magnificent milestone will start from the 31st January 2020, as Airforce Day will be the first of the glimpses of the 100 years of Air Power celebrations with an invited guests and media parade which will also be held at AFB Swartkop.

Note to the public that the SAAF Museum Airshow 2020 will only see local aircraft and another show will be held later in the year at another base which should see potential international participation.

Pay attention to our social media platforms for more information on the show closer to the time!

Photos below is from the 2019 SAAF Museum Airshow

Join the Facebook event page for the SAAF Museum Airshow 2020

Do you want the Russians to return?

During the past week those in Gauteng were treated to some special visitors… the Russians, an African first for the landing of The Tupolev Tu-160 in Africa, and that in our very own South Africa.
The General that headed the team that visited South Africa mentioned the they might return soon during the farewell function held Friday evening.
One of the crew also dropped that they could be returning in 2020 during the time spend at O.R Tambo international Airport.
2020 We see the next Addition of Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD2020) and also be celebrating SAAF100. Just maybe they will return!

Would you like to see the Russians return with the TU-160's?

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Below is and video of the Tupolev Tu-160’s departing ORTIA in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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